With elections years away but certain Canadian political leaders (the mayor of Toronto and Prime Minister of Canada) in full attack mode rarin' to go, I thought we should preview some candidates for the next election. That leaders feel the need to take to the airwaves with smears, intimidation and attack ads when they have absolute free reign to govern pretty much says it all about their leadership capacities. The weakness and sadness of the alternatives up to now has unfortunately prevented me from having full confidence that these dolts will be duly punted from office in 2.5-4 years time.
With that, let's look at our first brochure
Hi, I’m your local Conservative candidate. Well, local in the sense that if I’m elected, I will represent this area your house is in. But you won’t actually see me at any local candidates debates (those are just me-expressing-my-opinion-and-making-the-party-look-bad incidents waiting to happen, and my leader has a very bad temper) or knocking on your door (unless you’ve been identified as a supporter in my party’s state-of-the-art voter information electronic storage system). No, just take my word for it that I will maintain a strip mall office around here somewhere, once my butt is safely in a $157,000-per-year House of Commons seat.
Why should you take my word for it? Well, look at me. I’m an honest, hardworking, churchgoing guy with a wife and kids just like you. Like many of my colleagues, I want a smaller government, although I have racked up an impressive amount of service – my whole career, actually – in the public sector. You can tell I’m conservative because I’m the least ‘fun' of the candidates - I stick with boring talking points about hard work and low taxes for you and hard time and tough love for pot-smoking criminals. You can recognize me by the conservative, neutral business colours I wear like black and blue (which are the colours we want our opponents to end up)
Why am I in politics? Well, like all Conservatives, I believe in law and order, low taxes, and small government. My party has been in power for six years, has been convicted of breaking the law itself at least once, and has actually greatly expanded the size of government and government entitlements, but just take my word for it this time. Also, I am a Christian who believes gay marriage and abortion should be illegal, and that capital punishment should be reinstated. My party will not act on any of these issues either because they are “political hot buttons”, but at least you know that in my well-paid, utterly powerless position of Conservative backbench MP, I will be believing in these positions during caucus meetings, during which our leader who also believes in them explains to us why it’s politically untenable to act on them. Meanwhile, these issues will continue to provide 41% of the content for the Conservative blogosphere, or whatever percentage isn’t taken up by Muslim bashing.
Hope you recognize my used-car smile at your next visit to the evangelical church
Hi! I’m your proud Liberal Party candidate for this election. You can recognize me through my extensive wardrobe use of the colour red (our party’s colour, which also happens to the colour of the Canadian flag, which we embody) and my excited, fresh vision for the country – a big, bold, inclusive, progressive and equal opportunity place where we move forward, together and soar to ever greater heights of achievement above the current Conservative culture of cynicism and fear.
Not enough specifics? Well, we know what we need to focus on – jobs, growth, the economy, economic development, home care, deficit reduction, post-secondary education, the environment, infrastructure, immigration, and the list goes on. We’ll figure out the plan as we go – but if you don’t think were up to it, just look at how successful we were in all these areas in the 1990s when we were in power. These are all things our party has an absolute monopoly on, even though they have continued to get done more or less the same in the six years since we held power.
We will get down to implementing our fully costed policies once we are done discrediting the NDP, who will bankrupt the country with their job-killing, left wing ideology, and the conservatives with their George W. Bush-style reactionary cuts. Only the pragmatic, centrist Liberals can lead this country forward, avoiding the spending cuts, tax cuts, environmental devastation, American integration and foreign takeovers that occurred under Canadian Liberal regimes in the past.
Too negative? Are we alienating everyone by attacking our left and right flanks non-stop? Well, we’ve got great news. “We Liberals”, in case you haven’t read about it in the newspaper every week, are in the process of “rebuilding”, “rebranding”, “changing our culture”, deploying a “grassroots strategy” and “taking our medicine”. We’ve “learned our lessons” from the last five or six elections and eight years and three leaders and six presidents/chief of staffs, and are working hard now to earn your trust with the former leader of the Ontario NDP – something we’re sure we’ll do once we figure out what we stand for by our next policy convention in 2017 – mark your calendars!
And leftward we go
Are you tired of politics as usual? Stuck between the doublespeak and hypocrisy of the old-style red party-blue party politics? Feeling brash and want to take action against the elitism and corruption of the Liberal party dominated by businesspeople, lawyers, corporations and political insiders? Or was that the Conservative party - I can’t tell them apart anymore. Well, no matter. You have a home here with our brashly coloured, orange party, the NDP. That’s who we are, the eighty-two year old New Democratic Party. You can recognize us through our brightly-coloured (usually orange) ties.
At least, that’s what we’re known as. But we have been involved in a rebranding exercise lately in an attempt to consolidate our recent political gains, and would now like to be known as “Canada’s New Democrats”. One thing we share with the Conservatives, who called themselves “Canada’s New Government” for four years, besides the annoying tendency to think of ourselves as ageless, is that we have never read Will Strunk’s advice to use the active voice. But that’s all we share, I swear! Unlike the Conservatives, we’re going to be stuck with our shitty "new" passive name forever.
No, unlike the two politics-as-usual clans, we’re going to be working hard with you from day one to make things right for the millions of Canadians who are falling further and further behind. These Canadians are so numerous in their desperation that they give us like, literally 18% of the vote every time. We’re going to get back to what matters to Canadians: Health care, pensions, education and the environment and end the military adventures and corporate giveaways. I don’t know why our message resonates strongest with young, privileged, educated white people, but it does, which means that the way demographics are evolving in this country, we need your senior and suburbanite support now more than ever! Especially before the social acceptability window closes and we can no longer cash in on the sympathy window to “fullfil our late leader’s vision he was so close to achieving”. Never mind that our party has promptly moved to secure the unprecedented gains it made in the last election by sending out all its best, smartest, most experienced MPs on a gruelling, months long leadership campaign slog across the country while leaving the front benches of the House of Commons we are the Official Opposition in for the first time totally empty!
Vote NDP and help get our middle class back on track before its too late!
Bottom of the relevance pile
Hi, I’m your weirdly named, un-photogenic, missing in action green candidate. No, you can’t volunteer for my campaign, canvass with me, or have my website address because I have no campaign staff, no campaign headquarters, no site, and actually, I pretty much just won this nomination by falling out of bed. All you have to know is that I am the “Green” party candidate (hence my “green” tie) and that I am so cynical and fed up with politics I am willing to guarantee that I get no more than 5 % of the vote with my wacky positions.
What are those wacky positions? Actually, they’re not positions so much as acknowledgement. Acknowledgement that in the current fossil fuel burning to drive economic growth paradigm, we and the planet are both totally f-----. The other parties know this too, but they avoid saying it because it’s depressing and you don’t want to hear it. So my party has chosen to be proactive and come up with a bevy of solutions which would help us shift out of this paradigm and which would be, from a practical standpoint, nearly impossible to implement if we were ever elected. Don’t worry, though - we will never be, because no candour or political instincts are actually required to be a green candidate. Just a vague interest in politics. We only have one real politician in our party, and she only became one because she made the party all about her celebrity cult and wants us to win on the same old-politics basis as the others. So actually, we’re alienating one of our core constituencies now – the disillusioned vote. So we’re even more pathetic than before.
Ouch. Well, vote for me if…if…you have no other reason to vote for anybody but like the colour…green?
No candidates or party-coloured ties were harmed in the making of this blog post